Forget Flash Drive. 10 Top Free Cloud Storage to Use

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What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage simply means storing files in the internet in which file owners can obtain or access them any time they want. If you are always forgetting your Flash Drive for the important meeting, worry of your Flash Drive getting corrupted, or have concerns of viruses from common Flash Drive sharing, consider cloud storage which you can access anywhere with an internet connection, store multiple copies of files with different cloud storage providers and share files using links for third-party download.

Cloud Storage's Many Features
Image Source: Getty Images

Free Cloud Storage

However, choosing a provider can be tricky, especially if you’re looking at free options. So today we’re going to explore 10 free cloud storage providers which might fit your storage needs.

1. Google drive

First appearing in 2012, Google Drive is a cloud storage service provided by Google. As a Google service, it gained massive amounts of popularity in a really short time as many users already had a Google Account. With Google being one of the largest companies in the world, you can be sure it is the safe choice and reliable choice, with top tier support, maintenance and security.

Buy Factor:

  • 15GB free storage with a Google account
  • No size limit for individual files
  • The free cloud storage never expires
  • Works especially good with documents
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Integration with Docs, Sheets, and Slides allow ease of work
  • If your phone is running an Android operating system, you may save SMS messages, apps, settings, and call settings into it.

Things to Note:

  • No client-side encryption
  • Mediocre upload and download speeds
  • Doesn’t offer password-protected links, and their links don’t expire

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the older players in its category, operating since 2008. In March 2016, it passed the 500 million users mark, making it a relatively popular cloud service. Dropbox also prevents the sharing of copyrighted files by double-checking every file with a blacklist of copyrighted material.

Buy Factor:

  • Free 2GB storage
  • Extra space provided with referrals
  • Real-time collaboration with Dropbox Paper
  • Available on iOS, Android, and PC
  • Easy to use interface
  • Very good, live support
  • Allows for file versioning

Things to Note:

  • Doesn’t offer a backup feature
  • Doesn’t have client-side encryption
  • Links used for file sharing are safe and password protected

3. Mega

Mostly known for its 50GB of free storage space for new users, Mega launched in 2013 by Kim Dotcom. If you’ve been an avid cloud storage user, you might remember the now non-existing service, Megaupload. Obviously, Mega is its successor.

Buy Factor:

  • 50GB free space for the first 30 days
  • You can get extra storage for downloading the desktop app (20GB) and the mobile app (15GB) but – it lasts for 180 days.
  • If you get a friend to sign up, you get an extra 10GB for a year
  • Very good client-side encryption

Things to Note:

  • After 30 days, you have 15GB
  • Only allows 1GB/6h upload so the file size limit is 1GB
  • Slow speeds during peak hours
  • Can’t edit in browser
  • No live support

4. MediaFire

MediaFire is a cloud storage service founded in Texas in June 2006. Mostly used as a back-up solution, or as a data warehouse, it’s a very popular service. By 2012, it amassed 1.3 billion unique visitors.

Buy Factor:

  • 10GB free storage
  • Available for iOS, Android, and PC
  • Free accounts don’t need download activity to not be activated

Things to Note:

  • The size limit per file 4GB
  • Has a lot of ads
  • Doesn’t have a desktop app
  • Its mobile app is buggy
  • No file versioning
  • Can’t edit in browser
  • No syncing options
  • Links for file sharing aren’t password-protected and don’t expire
  • Lack of encryption (missing at-rest, in-transit, and client-side encryption)
  • Doesn’t have two-factor authentication
  • Doesn’t offer live support

5. Yandex Disk

Launched in April 2012, Yandex Disk is a Cloud storage service by Yandex, a company based in Russia. By signing up for Yandex, a user also gets access to its other free services such as Yandex browser, Yandex Mail, AppMetrica among others.

Buy Factor:

  • 10GB free storage
  • Keeps file versions from the past 90 days without taking additional space
  • Easy to use

Things to Note:

  • Limited, non-live support
  • Doesn’t have sync folders
  • Links for file sharing aren’t password-protected and don’t have an expiration date
  • Lack of encryption (missing at-rest, in-transit and, client-side encryption)
Cloud Storage's Many Uses
Image Source: Getty Images

6. Icedrive

Icedrive is the newest player on our list. Launched in early 2019 in Wales, it’s a service that has been slowly growing and adding multiple features to its list. Even as the newest player, it’s also one of the safest providers on our list encryption wise with Twofish Encryption which is widely accepted as a more secure solution than AES/Rijndael. By the way, out team loved their web look!

Buy Factor:

Things to Note:

  • Daily bandwidth of 3GB, so size limit of 3GB per file
  • Doesn’t have two-factor authentication
  • Doesn’t allow for file versioning
  • Can’t edit in browser
  • Can’t selectively sync

7. Degoo

Made in Stockholm, Sweden in 2012, Degoo is one of the big players when it comes to free cloud storage. It offers an impressive amount (100GB) of free cloud storage to its free members. With 100 million users, it might not be the most popular provider, but it can serve as a handy back up storage.

Buy Factor:

  • 100GB free cloud storage
  • Its mobile app is decent
  • It’s very easy to use

Things to Note:

  • Can only upload files from 1 device and view them on as many as you want
  • You have to log in every 90 days to keep your account active
  • Individual files can’t exceed 512MB
  • Doesn’t have two-factor authentication
  • Shaky support team
  • There’s no file syncing
  • Doesn’t allow for file versioning

8. iCloud

iCloud is one of the most famous providers on our list as it is owed by Apple. Launched in 2011, iCloud is a very handy cloud storage service for anyone that owns an iPhone. It doesn’t come as a surprise then, to learn that in 2018, it had an estimated 850 million users. In a notably high-profile case in 2014 involving the hack of celebrities’ photos stored in iCloud, Apple had since denied any breach in their system.

Buy Factor:

  • 5GB free storage for everyone with an Apple ID
  • Real-time collaboration on documents
  • Includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote
  • Very simple to use
  • iMessages, calendar, reminders, and notes are automatically saved
  • You can back up your iPhone or iPad.
  • Available for all iOS devices and on PC

Things to Note:

  • Not very handy if you don’t have iOS devices
  • No file versioning system
  • Can’t edit in browser
  • File sharing links aren’t password-protected and don’t expire
  • No client-side encryption
  • No email or live chat support

9. Sync.com

Sync.com is a relatively young cloud storage service founded in 2011 on the vision of data privacy and ease of use. Present day, it has more than 750,000 users storing over 2.7 billion files with over 2.9 million files shared daily.

Buy Factor:

  • 5GB free storage
  • Automatic backup, sync and restore
  • You can get more storage through referral
  • End-to-end encryption ensure only user or authorised users can access the file
  • Allows for collaboration, allows a folder to be synced with a number of devices

Things to Note:

  • No phone or live support
  • Not available for Linux
  • Can’t edit in browser

10. OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft‘s version of Google Drive. OneDrive’s integration with Office Online allows you to edit documents in real time together with your colleagues, making it ideal for business environments. First launched in 2007, it went through a series of name changes including SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders before current.

Buy Factor:

  • 5GB free storage with Microsoft or Outlook account
  • Office Online allows document editing and collaboration
  • OneDrive is pre-installed in all Windows 10 platforms
  • Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and PC
  • Allows for sync on demand
  • Free student and teacher version

Things to Note:

  • No client-side encryption
  • No live support

Our Advice

Choosing which Cloud Storage provider to trust with your files comes down to how much space you want and how much risk appetite you could digest in losing the files. Should you only wish to store old, unimportant files, it’s best to opt for the providers that offer the most space without costs. However, for back up of important files needing to keep secured, then opt for the safest providers, and pay a subscription fee to extend the storage space if required.

As I understand, many users choose Cloud Storage for temporary files, that is files that they know they need to send to others in the next week or two, hence performing much like a Flash Drive. Then should Cloud Storage replace Flash Drive? I believe with Cloud Storage and the availability of access to internet everywhere, the need for Flash Drive had greatly diminished. Although good to have, but you might find it often in the pockets of your bag once you are used to Cloud Storage.

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